Intelligence - A Form of self-organization ?

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paulhanke
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 08:16 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;87927 wrote:
In Just Six Numbers, Martin Rees demonstrates that certain fundamental constants are such that the kind of order we see all through the cosmos can arise.


... what would truly be remarkable is if those six constants were not such that the kind of order we see all through the cosmos could arise Smile ... now try to imagine a totally alien universe where these constants were different and gave rise to unthinkable processes and order ... now try to imagine a Martin Rees in that universe who makes the same postulate ... if he were given values of constants that described our universe, would he be able to deduce the processes and order that could arise from those constants? - or would he discard them as possibilities for a viable universe out of a bias for his own notions of process and order? ... (heck! - we have serious troubles deducing the processes and order that can emerge from our own set of constants!!!) ...
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 11:38 pm
@Exebeche,
well I suppose you can say that, and I have seen that response to the anthropic principle type of argument. But the point I take from 'pre-existing harmony' idea is a little different. I guess, actually, it is just another form of the cosmological argument. It is like this.

I rather like the idea that life itself is a latent capacity within the cosmos which appears when the conditions are right. It is almost like the image of a fertile soil in which plants will appear when the conditions are right. Of course the big question in this regard is, what are the 'seeds of life'? How did insentient matter spontaneously become living? That is the whole abiogenisis debate I guess. Well - add to the mixture that really interesting idea of panspermia. I got that book by Fred Hoyle on it years ago. There has been some recent press. So the idea is that comets whiz around, and they are actually like giant sperm cells, and places like earth are like ova. Every so often....well I can leave the rest to your imagination.

So I suppose you can say that it possibly just pushes back the potential location of abiogenisis to whereabouts unknown. But I love the idea of the Cosmic Sperm Cells.
 
salima
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 12:20 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;87975 wrote:
well I suppose you can say that, and I have seen that response to the anthropic principle type of argument. But the point I take from 'pre-existing harmony' idea is a little different. I guess, actually, it is just another form of the cosmological argument. It is like this.

I rather like the idea that life itself is a latent capacity within the cosmos which appears when the conditions are right. It is almost like the image of a fertile soil in which plants will appear when the conditions are right. Of course the big question in this regard is, what are the 'seeds of life'? How did insentient matter spontaneously become living? That is the whole abiogenisis debate I guess. Well - add to the mixture that really interesting idea of panspermia. I got that book by Fred Hoyle on it years ago. There has been some recent press. So the idea is that comets whiz around, and they are actually like giant sperm cells, and places like earth are like ova. Every so often....well I can leave the rest to your imagination.

So I suppose you can say that it possibly just pushes back the potential location of abiogenisis to whereabouts unknown. But I love the idea of the Cosmic Sperm Cells.


so we go from an anthropic position to mysogyny? god must be riding a harley out there...or he is the pilot of a huge 'mother/father' ship and unloads bombs which are the comets that impregnate stuff. if we pursue this angle, the thread will be a mong the insentient before we know it.

seriously now! your idea resounds with me, jeep, until you get the part about going from dead to living. i consider all material to be sentient-as far as its senses allow. as far as the matter of increasing complexity, everything has the potential to do that, and the rock by the side of a stream maybe wishing to become moving. so to me there is no difference in that which is living and that which is not, again life and death are only conditions that appear when the factors are aligned towards them. you really answered the question yourself in the part i underlined above.

i also stand by my position that there has to be order underlying everything, otherwise it would destroy itself. the appearance of ever-increasing complexity may be a reflection of the concept of expansion, related to the 'big bang'. LaughingLaughingLaughing

now everything has become a double entendre...i need a break
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 03:42 am
@Exebeche,
Maybe the Big Bang was an orgasm:bigsmile:
 
Exebeche
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 07:39 am
@paulhanke,
jeeprs;87927 wrote:
there is no reason why self-organisation could not be a manifestation of an underlying order.


Self organisation IS order. These two words belong together like the words 'growth' and 'size'.
An increase of order in a system is called self organisation.
Except when it's caused by you cleaning the kitchen. The kitchen is one of the few places in our universe where self organisation doesn't take place (not at all. zero).
Apart from that the way something is self organising may also be subject to a particular order, which means a logic underlying the process.
So we have 'order' as a logic that is imposed on systems, and we have order as a state that a system can be in .
The second meaning is the more common one. It's what is referred to when we talk about decreasing order at increasing entropy.

paulhanke;87909 wrote:
... in essence, I think it may be said that when the process of the expansion of the early universe reached a tipping point and a phase change occurred that allowed some of the universe's energy to precipitate into matter, the precipitation was conservative with respect to matter/energy ... but was it also conservative with respect to complexity/information? ... that is, did the process of the expansion of the universe create (I think the word you use is "express") complexity/information that did not previously exist, thus increasing the amount of complexity/information in the universe, and thus vastly increasing the number of processes that could emerge from that complexity/information to produce yet even more novel complexity/information? ... and to bring this back around to the title of the thread, is the universe itself self-organized? ...


One highly important fact is that there is no such thing as a law of conservation of information.
So far there is not.
According to the research on physical information by Tom Stonier, the information in a system can increase at an exponential rate in relation to the added energy.
In other words increasing the amount of information in a system does not afford the same amount of energy.
Or also: when adding the same amount of energy continously, the system can respond with an explosive increase of information.
Ray Kurzweil made a similar observation regarding the progress of information technology (related to Moore's law).
This phenomenon can very nicely be observed in the process of evolution that also shows an exponential curve in terms of complexity; same to human history or science in general.
To provide Stonier's physical equation i would have to look it up and translate it (however if there is really high interest in it i could do that).

Another effect of this equation is that we have an evercontinuing process of entropy in which information gets lost on one hand, on the other hand however if you increase a systems information exponentially this effect can surpass the loss of information by far.
We can observe this in the molecule of DNA.
The energy we need (the entropy we cause) for producing a molecule of DNA is minute in comparison to the information contained in it.
Getting to this point has taken a few billion years and caused a lot of entropy however this does not contradict this statement.
It is the long time period that is described by the exponential curve.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 09:17 am
@salima,
salima;87977 wrote:
i consider all material to be sentient-as far as its senses allow.


... another approach is to consider all substance to be insentient, period ... rather, it is dynamic organizations of substance that are sentient ... as Laszlo puts it, "The difference between Caesar and the chimpanzee is not a difference in substance but in the relational structuring of the substance." ... the same could be said for the difference between Caesar and a pool of organic molecules ...

Systems science - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

---------- Post added 09-04-2009 at 09:32 AM ----------

Exebeche;88016 wrote:
One highly important fact is that there is no such thing as a law of conservation of information.
So far there is not.


... I have wondered what the implications of this issue are for the universe ... if information is conservative, then at most we'll see localized increases in complexity/information at the expense of other areas of the universe ... on the other hand, if information is not conservative, the universe could get caught in a positive feedback loop of ever increasing complexity/information production ... unfortunately, the Earth can be used as evidence for either Smile - its isolation hints at localized pockets of increasing complexity/information, whereas its biosphere hints at ever increasing complexity/information production ...
 
salima
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 09:38 am
@paulhanke,
paulhanke;88037 wrote:
... another approach is to consider all substance to be insentient, period ... rather, it is dynamic organizations of substance that are sentient ... as Laszlo puts it, "The difference between Caesar and the chimpanzee is not a difference in substance but in the relational structuring of the substance." ... the same could be said for the difference between Caesar and a pool of organic molecules ...

Systems science - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


if he is saying that the individual components when you break them down that compose any organism are not sentient but become so as a group...
naw, i dont like that idea. because then where do you draw the line and say voila! now we have sentience!...? by saying everything is sentient we remove that question. perhaps it is merely potentially or inherently sentient if it has no senses, but who can say that a mineral has no senses? or for that matter no consciousness? or for that matter no intellect? or we could say these qualities are all latent in all substance but only develop as needed.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 09:47 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;87975 wrote:
I rather like the idea that life itself is a latent capacity within the cosmos which appears when the conditions are right. It is almost like the image of a fertile soil in which plants will appear when the conditions are right. Of course the big question in this regard is, what are the 'seeds of life'? How did insentient matter spontaneously become living?


... I think the question "How did insentient matter spontaneously become living?" is simply the wrong question ... I think a better question might be "How did life emerge from insentient matter?" ... autocatalysis is a first step to answering that question - when chemical A catalyzes the reaction of chemicals B and C to produce chemical D which catalyzes the reaction of chemicals E and F to produce chemical A, you have a simple self-organized autocatalytic loop ... autopoiesis is the next step in the self-organization of life from insentient matter ...

---------- Post added 09-04-2009 at 09:54 AM ----------

salima;88049 wrote:
if he is saying that the individual components when you break them down that compose any organism are not sentient but become so as a group...
naw, i dont like that idea. because then where do you draw the line and say voila! now we have sentience!...? by saying everything is sentient we remove that question.


... and open up new questions ... why doesn't a pool of organic molecules display the same level of sentience as Caesar? ... if you run Caesar through a blender, where does the cumulative sentience go? ...

EDIT: hmmm - I was just on another thread where you quote Alva Noe ... it's puzzling to me that the quote essentially paraphrases what I quoted from Laszlo, yet you agree with one and not the other (?)
 
salima
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 12:58 pm
@paulhanke,
paulhanke;88051 wrote:
... I think the question "How did insentient matter spontaneously become living?" is simply the wrong question ... I think a better question might be "How did life emerge from insentient matter?" ... autocatalysis is a first step to answering that question - when chemical A catalyzes the reaction of chemicals B and C to produce chemical D which catalyzes the reaction of chemicals E and F to produce chemical A, you have a simple self-organized autocatalytic loop ... autopoiesis is the next step in the self-organization of life from insentient matter ...

---------- Post added 09-04-2009 at 09:54 AM ----------



... and open up new questions ... why doesn't a pool of organic molecules display the same level of sentience as Caesar? ... if you run Caesar through a blender, where does the cumulative sentience go? ...

EDIT: hmmm - I was just on another thread where you quote Alva Noe ... it's puzzling to me that the quote essentially paraphrases what I quoted from Laszlo, yet you agree with one and not the other (?)


what you are saying above is that life emerges from insentient matter. i think life is a condition that occurs in sentient matter but all sentient matter is not necessarily alive. emerges doesnt quite fit how i think of it, but i admit i could be wrong.

the pool of molecules i dont really understand-a group of molecules that form no organism? i am thinking a human being has needs for survival that differ from a pool of molecules, and he would require and develop a higher capability for sentience. and as for what happens to the sentience when you run him through a blender, it is still there but returns to the level of the pool of molecules since it no longer is necessary to be as complex as what caesar needed, and yet will not be reduced to no sentience because i think sentience is the same as existence physically. once again i could be wrong. i will be happy to hear any errors in my logic (or lack of it) if you want to tell me.

the laszlo quote to me says that relational structuring of the substance is the key rather than there being any difference in the substance, but your statement before that about all substance being insentient i thought was his stance. that is the part i dont like. i might agree with what he is saying if i saw the context of where he said it.

whereas noe's remarks to me suggest that you wont see any evidence of life until there is interaction with the environment of a certain calibre or level. 'the life' he is referring to is not sentience, but a way of explaining that there is no such thing as life-which is what i maintain. it is only a condition like fever and isnt relevant to the question of sentience. sentience is perception-and i believe that dead things can perceive. sounds horrible, i dont believe i ever heard anyone say that-what kind of philosophy is that? i have no idea. but it is beside the point to this discussion i think.

so both quotes are referring to relationships but one is between different elements or units of substance within an organism (when considering the concept of life or death condition) and the second is referring to the relationship between an organism and its environment. and further, noe is suggesting that this thing called 'consciousness' is similar in that respect to what we call life.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 02:53 pm
@salima,
salima;88080 wrote:
the pool of molecules i dont really understand-a group of molecules that form no organism? i am thinking a human being has needs for survival that differ from a pool of molecules, and he would require and develop a higher capability for sentience. and as for what happens to the sentience when you run him through a blender, it is still there but returns to the level of the pool of molecules since it no longer is necessary to be as complex as what caesar needed, and yet will not be reduced to no sentience because i think sentience is the same as existence physically.


... ah ... I was under the misapprehension that what you were proposing was that if all matter is sentient then groups of matter are also sentient by mere summation ... your elaboration on that point shows that this is not the case - that you do think higher levels of sentience arise from higher levels of dynamic organization ... I don't think you'd find yourself in much disagreement with Laszlo, then - although he uses the word "subjectivity" ... in his worldview, all natural systems (in contrast with artificial systems) have subjectivity, as being able to respond self-preservingly (even if automatically) to changes in the environment is his hallmark for subjectivity ... his definition of a system is any whole made up of multiple interacting parts where there are properties of the whole that are (for all practical purposes) irreducible to the properties of the parts (in contrast with undifferentiated "heaps" such as a pool of molecules or a pile of trash) ... as atoms are wholes that are made up of multiple interacting parts, atoms in Laszlo's worldview have subjectivity ... however, that being said, the subjectivity of atoms remains independent of the subjectivity of higher level systems made up of atoms ... higher level natural systems that are made up of other lower level natural systems do not destroy the lower level systems and steal their subjectivity - the lower level systems remain relatively autonomous and retain their own subjectivity while the subjectivity of the higher level system is an emergent property of the system that is irreducible to the subjectivities of the lower level systems ...
 
salima
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 05:38 pm
@paulhanke,
paulhanke;88107 wrote:
... ah ... I was under the misapprehension that what you were proposing was that if all matter is sentient then groups of matter are also sentient by mere summation ... your elaboration on that point shows that this is not the case - that you do think higher levels of sentience arise from higher levels of dynamic organization ... I don't think you'd find yourself in much disagreement with Laszlo, then - although he uses the word "subjectivity" ... in his worldview, all natural systems (in contrast with artificial systems) have subjectivity, as being able to respond self-preservingly (even if automatically) to changes in the environment is his hallmark for subjectivity ... his definition of a system is any whole made up of multiple interacting parts where there are properties of the whole that are (for all practical purposes) irreducible to the properties of the parts (in contrast with undifferentiated "heaps" such as a pool of molecules or a pile of trash) ... as atoms are wholes that are made up of multiple interacting parts, atoms in Laszlo's worldview have subjectivity ... however, that being said, the subjectivity of atoms remains independent of the subjectivity of higher level systems made up of atoms ... higher level natural systems that are made up of other lower level natural systems do not destroy the lower level systems and steal their subjectivity - the lower level systems remain relatively autonomous and retain their own subjectivity while the subjectivity of the higher level system is an emergent property of the system that is irreducible to the subjectivities of the lower level systems ...


sounds good to me. from what year is laszlo?
you mean he uses subjectivity for consciousness? that also sounds fine to me.

that also allows me to have my sentient rocks and cellular memory etc without upsetting the apple cart. i like it!

i was just thinking the other day how the white blood cells fight bacteria etc...they have to be sentient. and of course they have to retain their level of sentience to do their job-they cant be philosophizing about whether or not they want to take antibiotics.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 06:24 pm
@salima,
... the book that I took the quote from is Laszlo's "The Systems View of the World" - 1996 ...
 
salima
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 06:42 pm
@Exebeche,
i was checking him out and it said in one article that his theories were popular thirty years ago ... egads he's still alive!

now i am interested in nicola tesla's zero point theory...look what you've done!

actually i think some of this is overlapping things i probably read thirty years ago. maybe now i am in a position to understand it and that is why i am beginning to come to certain conclusions that i had already been introduced to and left behind-far away but not entirely forgotten.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 06:50 pm
@salima,
salima;88153 wrote:
actually i think some of this is overlapping things i probably read thirty years ago. maybe now i am in a position to understand it and that is why i am beginning to come to certain conclusions that i had already been introduced to and left behind-far away but not entirely forgotten.


... welcome to the club Smile
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 4 Sep, 2009 09:49 pm
@paulhanke,
paulhanke;88107 wrote:
atoms are wholes that are made up of multiple interacting parts.


That is interesting, in that it is a complete divergence from the actual meaning of the word 'atom' which originally meant 'indivisible'. Here it something much nearer to 'molecule', but on a different scale. Of course it is now a commonplace that the 'atom has been split' but I do wonder where that leaves atomism. I think I will break that out into another thread though, it is off topic for this one.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Sat 5 Sep, 2009 06:20 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;88190 wrote:
That is interesting, in that it is a complete divergence from the actual meaning of the word 'atom' which originally meant 'indivisible'. Here it something much nearer to 'molecule', but on a different scale. Of course it is now a commonplace that the 'atom has been split' but I do wonder where that leaves atomism. I think I will break that out into another thread though, it is off topic for this one.


... one of the most interesting thoughts I've run across recently is the thought that if as you keep looking closer and closer and keep finding that each "particle" you find is but another process built up from even smaller "particles" that the scientific thing to do is to hypothesize that it's processes all the way down ... the unscientific thing to do is to keep insisting despite all evidence to the contrary that "There's gotta be a fundamental particle here somewhere!" ...
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 5 Sep, 2009 07:06 am
@Exebeche,
There is no 'ultimate particle'. I don't think very many people understand the signifigance of that reality.
 
Exebeche
 
Reply Sun 6 Sep, 2009 02:26 pm
@jeeprs,
Back at my desk.

jeeprs;87975 wrote:
How did insentient matter spontaneously become living?


A clear implication of this sentence is that you consider living matter sentient matter.
Plus you imply a distinction between dead matter and living matter.
These are two points that i would like to discuss.

First i would say the matter that you are made of is not more alive than the matter a stone is made of.
We could also say that it's not less alive.
In a merely scientific discussion we would have to agree that it's not the matter you are made of that is alive, but you as a person (biological construction) are.
Being in a philosophical forum, i would also agree if we say that all matter is 'alive', at least this is a valid point of view from a logical perspective. [edit: i explane this in a later sentence]
The point i am trying to make is: There is nothing that turns dead matter into living matter. Matter is matter, regardless wether you regard it dead or alive.
Life was a chemical reaction in the first place.
It's in fact the only self perpetuating chemical reaction that we know of which has never ended.
Actually it is still the very same reaction that started billions of years ago.
It's as if on a different planet you make an experiment that makes some molecules light up for a moment, which normally don't light up by themselves. However the reaction doesn't stop, it continues making other pieces of matter light up for a second. You loose your interest in the experiment and leave this planet, however after a billion years you return and find it completely consisting of flickering glimmering matter (And even more interesting, the flickering is not random, but appears in patterns that support and maintain the reaction globally).
On earth the selfperpetuating reaction split up into billions of autonomous reactions but they all originate from the first reaction (which was kind of the way paulhanke described it). It is not unlikely that there were other (competing) selfperpetuating reactions that just didn't make it.
What makes this dead (or living) matter alive is certainly a question of complexity also. (A virus e.g. is not considerd to be living. Although this of course just a matter of definition).
The chemical reaction did not become alive all of a sudden. It took millions of years for the molecules to go through a process of transformation making them more robust and optimizing the reproduction process.
If we regard matter itself alive we could say that it has been alive all the time, the following process just took advantage of matter being sentient and increasing the complexitiy to a degree which made incredibly amazing features appear.

Should we actually regard matter being alive?
Nobody has really said matter was alive, so why do i even bring it up?
It was you connecting sentience to being alive and Salima regarding all matter as sentient.
First i was not too much into the idea of all matter being sentient to be honest, because there are too many unspoken implications of matter having a soul and so on, which could get us in deep esoteric trouble.
On the other hand Salima's idea is not really in opposition to my personal understanding of life - intelligence - information because matter being sentient in a way correlates with my idea of all matter (and energy) being information processing constituents of our universe.
Now what i normally regard as sentience is in fact a more complex kind of information processing.
So, why not talk in Salima's terms and say ok, if all matter is sentient (information processing) and sentience being a property of life, jeepr's sentence leads to matter being alive.
From a philosophical and logical perspective i can see some truth in this perspective.
However we must be very careful not to accept all possible implications at the same time. This does not automatically prove a universal soul, and it does not make a stone AS alive as a human person.
In fact by winding down the terms life and sentience to such a primitive level, we create a requirement of words expressing the much more progressed states of life and emotion.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 6 Sep, 2009 05:27 pm
@Exebeche,
Very good answer and much to ponder in it. I suppose one must be very mindful in using common words in this context. (Although I do note that in the ancient world, the body was said to be 'ensouled'. I rather like the idea of soul, but I am not going to put up an argument for it.)

One nevertheless has to ask oneself this very fundamental question 'what is life'? What is that spark that animates the chemistry in such a way that it grows and reproduces? I must admit I am still very attracted by Bergson, even though I realise he is not intellectually respectable any more. But I do like the idea of 'creative evolution'.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Sun 6 Sep, 2009 07:34 pm
@Exebeche,
Exebeche;88511 wrote:

The chemical reaction did not become alive all of a sudden. It took millions of years for the molecules to go through a process of transformation making them more robust and optimizing the reproduction process.


... along that line, I think you might enjoy an analogy I ran across recently (in Ulanowicz's "A Third Window") ... that processes can be like muscadine grapevines - that a process may emerge from one set of constituents only to later tap into a different set of contituents and "disconnect" from the original constituents ... much like how a muscadine grapevine can emerge from a single trunk, then later lay down adventitious roots far from the original trunk, and even later yet allow the original trunk to wither away and disappear ... from a terrestrial biology perspective, the implication is that the original autocatalytic/autopoietic processes of our own lineage could potentially bear very little (if any) chemical resemblance to our modern eukaryotic cellular biology ...

Exebeche;88511 wrote:
In fact by winding down the terms life and sentience to such a primitive level, we create a requirement of words expressing the much more progressed states of life and emotion.


... excellent point! Smile ...

---------- Post added 09-06-2009 at 09:21 PM ----------

jeeprs;88548 wrote:
But I do like the idea of 'creative evolution'.


... consider this outline of a version of it: it has been observed that life tends toward "the edge of chaos", where "deterministic chaos" is a qualitative state of the dynamics of a recursive/feedback system that renders the system highly sensitive to initial conditions ... now bring quantum effects into the fold ... if the system is highly sensitive to initial conditions, isn't it reasonable to suspect that the system is also highly sensitive to ongoing quantum effects? ... if so, one possible reason why life doesn't dive whole hog into a state of deterministic chaos is that its uncontrolled sensitivity to quantum effects could render it uselessly random ... by teetering on the edge of chaos, it may be possible for life to harness its sensitivity to quantum effects, by using its own feedback to dampen out pathological random "mutations" and amplify beneficial random "mutations" ... that this could be occurring not only at the genetic/population level but also at the somatic/individual level leads to the possibility for both "creative evolution" and individual creativity as ontological realities - such systems are neither completely random nor completely deterministic, but rather a feedback-controlled fusion of both ... that these systems are themselves in the driver's seat (through recursion/feedback) removes the need for any external/supernatural elan vital to keep things moving along ...
 
 

 
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